Honeywell, one of the pioneers in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) refining technology, has developed a market-ready ethanol-to-jet (ETJ) processing route that will allow production from corn-based, cellulose or sugar-based SAF Ethanol. As the demand for SAF continues to grow, most today comes from animal fats, waste oils and other non-edible crop oils that may have supply constraints. Honeywell noted that ethanol is a widely available and economically viable option, approved by ASTM International as a SAF feedstock in 2018.
Depending on the composition of the ethanol feedstock, ETJ fuel can reduce total lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent compared to fossil-derived jets, the company said. A recent U.S. Department of Energy study determined that the ETJ process combined with technologies such as carbon capture and storage and smart farming practices may produce negative greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional jet-A.
Using Honeywell ETJ technology, the SAF plant can be built with a modular design and can begin production faster than traditional construction methods. The design also allows for rapid conversion of existing or idle refineries.
Last year, the Biden administration released the Sustainable Jet Fuel Grand Challenge, calling on the U.S. jet fuel supply sector to produce at least 3 billion gallons of SAF by 2030 to meet its goal of meeting 100% of U.S. jet fuel demand by 2050. At the same time, the European Council released the “Fit for 55” plan, which aims to increase the SAF ratio of EU airports from 2% in 2025 to 63% in 2050. With these ambitious goals, SAF production and supply will need to increase rapidly.
“Honeywell pioneered SAF production with its Ecofining technology, and our new ethanol-to-jet fuel process builds on this original innovation to support the global aviation industry’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enable SAF production from abundant feedstocks such as ethanol goals,” said Barry Glickman, vice president of Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions.